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1. What are security threat groups? What is their impact in local jails, and state/federal prisons? Can they be managed and if so, how?
Security Threat Groups (STGs) is the term used for inmate organizations or gangs and how they adversely impact prison security. Most STGs are racially founded with six major groups: the Aryan Brotherood, Black Guerilla Family, Mexican Mafia, La Nuestra Familia, Neta, and Texas Syndicate. Smaller street gangs with less organizational structure also exist.
STGs negatively impact corrections facilities to great extent. They cause a dramatic increase in violence with the potential to reach outside of facility and interfere with inmate rehabilitation. Many prisons have units that focus of STGs in an attempt to control STG influence and many methods have been practiced. Methods focused on changing inmate behavior rather than controlling it have been more successful. Classification systems have been developed focusing on inmate prison programming and cognitive behavioral treatment. The gathering of gang intelligence and the dissemination of this information to other law enforcement agencies and facilities have proven beneficial. Segregation of STG inmates have also helped decrease STG activity. These methods assist in decreasing prison violence, and the intelligence gathering and sharing further help develop STG intervention methods.
2. How do inmates escape from prisons? What is their motivation? Do staff help them?
Many inmates escape from prison because of lax guards. Oftentimes officers become complacent and think that because they trust an inmate that they will not try to escape. Work details that involve trustees that are allowed access to lower security areas of prisons are also high risk for escape. When prisoners are granted furloughs or transported outside of prison walls to court or medical appointments they can also become flight risks. Most inmates’ motivation for escape is freedom. Staff are often involved in helping inmates escape if there is money involved. High profile inmates often have people on the outside who orchestrate the escapes by arranging contact with the staff members and handling the payments of money, etc.
3. What are prison riots? How do they start and why do they happen? Do some research and find one example of a riot within the last 10 years. Post your research.
A riot is an action by a group of inmates that constitutes a forcible attempt to gain control of a facility or area within a facility. There are several theoretical causes of riots:
- Random chance which means there is no known cause and are unpredictable.
- Bad conditions which is mainly caused by overcrowding which leads to lack of staff, lack of programs for inmates, and also lack of funding.
- Racial antagonism leads to riots due to gang affiliations in prisons. Close proximity causes tension between gang members.
- Institutional structure and readiness meaning when authorities fail to plan and prepare if he infrastructure wears thin.
- Poor management and administration such as frequent staff turnover, inadequate training to poor communication.
The Attica Prison Riot of 1971 was known as the world’s most infamous riots. It occurred at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York. The prison was overcrowded and tensions were very high. On February 8th, a guard took two inmates away for punishment thinking they had been fighting. Rumors spread that the guards were beating the inmates causing 1,000 inmates to take over the prison and take 42 staff members hostage. The inmates held the riot to take a stand for the brutality they were receiving from the guard. Four days later, the National Guard and state police took over the prison and ultimately 10 hostages and 29 inmates were killed by friendly fire. The families of the victims received a payout due to the civil rights violation committed when the prison was being took back.
What are security threat groups? What is their impact in local jails and state/federal prisons? Can they be managed and if so, how?
STG or gangs are groups of people who have an interest to undermine the system. These groups violate various rules and left uncontrolled and not managed, their actions can lead to serious disruptions and even riots. These groups pose a serious management problem and concern for prisons. Management tools are in place to effectively manage and control security threat groups. Unfortunately, some prisons are more effective than others. The warden must set the example and step out the office and be more involved with inmates and enforcement of security policies. The staff are trained but it helps to know your leader is as willing to get it right and it helps to have an example to follow.